Mar 10

Let’s see Duda in right

Assuming Carlos Beltran isn’t available to the Mets by Opening Day, replacing him shouldn’t equal the dilemma CBS will have in replacing Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men.”

DUDA: Let's see what he has.

Both of Beltran’s knees are aching and he’s down for the week. Maybe he’ll come back next week; maybe he won’t.

So, who will the Mets use to replace the aching outfielder with a huge $18.5 million contract?

Veteran bench players Scott Hairston and Willie Harris can be plugged in and won’t embarrass the ball club. But, will they carry it? History says no, because afterall, they are role players. Their job is to temporarily fill a hole.

I want to see what Lucas Duda can bring to the table. Duda was a September call-up who started slow but closed hot. While Hairston and Harris could be somewhere else next season, or who knows, maybe even dealt in July to a contender, Duda could have a future with this team.

Duda is strong – he had four homers last year – so there’s power potential. He didn’t sparkle defensively and can only get better. Duda is off to a good start this spring and homered yesterday. We know what Hairston and Harris can do; Duda is an unknown.

However, for a team not expected to do anything this year, what’s the harm in giving him an audition?

 

Mar 09

Oliver Perez era coming to an end

The Mets are playing the Oliver Perez saga down to the very end.

PEREZ: Down and just about out.

In holding to their word they’d give Perez a chance to make it as a starter, GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins made the trip Tuesday to watch Perez get whipped by Houston, giving up three runs in three innings in what would be his last start with the Mets.

Alderson confirmed that today, saying Perez’s slim chance of sticking with the team was now out of the bullpen.

Kudos to Collins for sticking to his word making the two-hour bus ride to Kissimmee to watch Perez when the easy thing to do was let pitching coach Dan Warthen scout the long-shot for him.  It will go a long way toward Collins gaining credibility with his new team.

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Mar 08

Beltran sidelined again.

BELTRAN: Not running any time soon.

The Mets say they aren’t worried, which considering the past two seasons is far from believable. Carlos Beltran will will be out at least was week with left knee tentinitis, presumably caused by compenstation for the pain in his chronic right knee.

Let’s see. He’ll be down a week. Then need at least four or five days to get ready to try it again, which puts us after March 20. Anybody else out there thinking he might start the season on the disabled list?

Beltran said this morning, “I’m going to continue to work and try to put myself in shape, but the field things, it’s going to be off [for] a little bit.”

The Mets have even eschewed minor league games where he could DH, but not run. Beltran said he’s been feeling discomfort since the start of spring training, which precipitated his move to right field.

There’s nothing you can do with injuries but look at them at the worst case scenario. There’s no indication Beltran will be a viable player anytime soon, and of course, this minimizes his trade value to next to nothing. The worse possible thing to happen to the Mets would be for Beltran to be sidelined and unable to play or be traded.

I hope I am wrong, but the odds aren’t looking very promising.

 

Mar 06

Pelfrey ahead of last year’s pace

Last spring at this time Mike Pelfrey was struggling and there was talk – statistically speaking, it was rightfully so – he should open the season in the minor leagues refining his secondary pitches and learning to pitch with poise and guile.

PELFREY: Learning all the time.

Last spring at this time, Pelfrey wasn’t worried.

“I was working on things,” Pelfrey said, notably his sinker. “I knew I had time.”

He’s not ready for his Opening Day assignment – then again, who is a week into March? – but there’s no sense of urgency or concern this year after giving up one earned run on four hits in three innings yesterday against Atlanta in his second spring start.

Pelfrey is pleased with his early mechanics, saying the ball is coming out of his hand with ease and fluidity. He also has a sense of confidence knowing he has a rotation slot sewed up, which is not not to be confused with a sense of complacency.

“I’m confident in my abilities, but I still have things I need to work on,” Pelfrey said before the start of camp. “The thing I need to do is be more consistent.”

Defined, Pelfrey said consistency is for him to not get away from his fastball and lose his focus as he did during a horrid five-game stretch in July in which he gave up 24 runs on a combined 42 hits and 13 walks with only ten strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. He had a dreadful 10.02 ERA and in three starts failed to make it out of the fifth.

That he rebounded in August with a 1.82 ERA was indicative of his growing maturity. Take away July and with a little more offensive support and better bullpen and Pelfrey could have won 20 games in 2010.

“I really think so,’’ Pelfrey said. “I was able to put that month (July) behind me and not let if ruin the entire season. I learned to not get away from my fastball. That was very important.”

With Johan Santana gone for at least the first half of the season, Pelfrey has assumed the role of ace. This is his time.





Mar 04

Something to like about Collins

One thing that has impressed me so far about manager Terry Collins has been his decisiveness.

I liked how he put a timetable on the Carlos Beltran-Angel Pagan situation, although Beltran diffused it by making the switch on his own before it became a distraction. He’s also done the same thing with second base, saying he’d like to make a decision by the middle of the month. Look for Justin Turner to be one of the first roster cuts because he has remaining options. That will give more at-bats to Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Luis Castillo.

Word is Oliver Perez was on his way out, but likely delayed the inevitable with his strong outing the other day. Those scoreless innings bought Perez another appearance or two, although his chances of making the roster are out of the bullpen and not the rotation.

The Mets are a team in transition and didn’t bring a lot of bodies to camp. That Collins wants to define his roster quickly is a good decision. I like his no-nonsense, business-first approach. It is something this team has lacked.